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Subject: Cymorth!
From: Marta Weingartner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:WELSH Language Bulletin Board <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 13 Mar 1995 15:47:00 EST

text/plain (84 lines)

Re Susan Cook's message of 13 March 1995:
  < Please forgive the English.  Could someone out there translate "All
  < Through the Night" from English to Welsh and tell me the words to the
  < song (in English and in Welsh)?  I'd like to learn it and I can't find it
  < anywhere.  Diolch yn fawr.
    The most famous words to the tune "Ar Hyd y Nos" ("All Through the Night")
are the words by Ceiriog (John Ceiriog Hughes, 1832-1887); they are in Welsh,
and they are the oldest ones I know.  The only versions I've ever heard in
English have either been a pale translation of Ceiriog's words, or a completely
different poem with sappy words.  At any rate, Ceiriog's poem is not a
translation of any English version.
   Here are Ceiriog's words:            Approximate translation:
1. Holl amrantau'r se+r ddywedant,      All the twinkling of the stars say,
   Ar hyd y nos,                        All through the night,
   "Dyma'r ffordd i fro gogoniant,"     "This is the way to the land of glory,"
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
   Golau arall yw tywyllwch,            Darkness is another light,
   I arddangos gwir brydferthwch,       To display true beauty,
   Teulu'r nefoedd mewn tawelwch        The family of the heavens in quietness
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
2. O mor siriol gwena'r seren,          O how cheerfully smiles the star,
   Ar hyd y nos,                        All through the night,
   I oleuo'i chwaer-ddaearen,           To light up its sister earth,
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
   Nos yw henaint pan ddaw cystudd,     Old age is night, when affliction
   Ond i harddu dyn a'i hwyrddydd,      But to beautify man at the end of his
   Rhown ein golau gwan i'n gilydd,     Let us shine our weak light on one
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
(The sign + indicates a circumflex.)
Now here's a version by A.G. Prys-Jones which, though a bit overblown, is an
attempt, at least, to render the sentiments of Ceiriog's poem into English:
     1. Ev'ry star in heaven is singing
        All through the night,
        Hear the glorious music ringing
        All through the night.
        Songs of sweet ethereal lightness
        Wrought in realms of peace and whiteness;
        See, the dark gives way to brightness
        All through the night.
     2. Look, my love, the stars are smiling
        All through the night.
        Lighting, soothing and beguiling
        Earth's sombre plight:
        So, when age brings grief and sorrow,
        From each other we can borrow
        Faith in our sublime tomorrow,
        All through the night.
And finally, though I hate to sink so low, here are the incredibly drippy words
which are often sung to this tune in America:
     1. Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee
        All thro' the night.
        Guardian angels God will send thee,
        All thro' the night,
        Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
        Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
        I my loving vigil keeping
        All thro' the night.
     2. While the moon her watch is keeping,
        All thro' the night;
        While the weary world is sleeping
        All thro' the night.
        O'er thy spirit gently stealing,
        Visions of delight revealing,
        Breathes a pure and holy feeling,
        All thro' the night.
Authorship of this last mess has to be laid at the feet of one Harold Boulton.
        Marta Weingartner
        [log in to unmask]

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